Program Overview

What is the Millstone Scholars Program?

We want our children to know the robust history of ideas and events that flow throughout the majestic journey of the Jews, from the Exodus to a vibrant contemporary Jewish democracy in modern Israel.

The Tikvah Millstone Scholars Toronto Program is a unique one-year opportunity for students in grade 7 and 8 to study the great ideas and leaders of Jewish and Western civilization, Zionism, and the heroic story of modern Israel.

Program at-a-glance:

  • Designed for students in grades 7 and 8 in public or private school
  • Weekly classes are small and seminar-style, focused around in-class discussion
  • Students will hear from a variety of highly respected Canadian, Israeli, and American leaders including Ruth Wisse, Dan Senor, Elliott Abrams, and more.
  • Students will also participate in self-directed learning through online electives, allowing them to explore their individual interests in Jewish thought.
  • Homework is a maximum of 20–30 minutes of reading per week. There are no written assignments.
  • The full tuition for the program (including the in-person and online components) is $935 CAD / $720 USD. Our partners in Toronto have generously committed to providing a $200 USD per-student scholarship for all accepted students, bringing the total tuition to $675 CAD / $520 USD per student. Need-based financial aid is also available.

Students will meet locally at the Lipa Green Centre/Prosserman JCC for weekly in-person discussion-based seminars with peers and master teachers. Designed for students in public or private schools, Millstone Scholars engage in a one-year sequence of an in-person core seminar and online electives, combined with special events and guest speakers. In an era of declining Jewish identity and rising anti-Semitism, the Millstone Scholars Program aims to create confident and knowledgeable Jewish leaders of the future.


Who is Eligible to Apply?

The inaugural class of Millstone Scholars Toronto will begin in Fall 2022. We will accept applications from students entering grades 7 and 8 in Fall 2022 and who currently attend public or private schools. Class size will not exceed 15 students. Applications are due by Wednesday, August 31, 2022.


What is the Program Structure and Curriculum?

The Millstone Scholars Program is a one-year trimester sequence between September and June, aligned with the public school calendar. The program includes three central elements:

  1. Core In-Person Seminar: “How Jewish Ideas Changed the World”
    Every student will participate in a core seminar—meeting weekly, in-person, in your community—that explores how Jewish ideas have shaped Western civilization. The three parts of this core curriculum will be, in sequence, 1) the Bible in conversation with Western civilization, 2) the Jewish experience in North America, and 3) Zionism. Students will explore foundational Jewish texts alongside those from Greek, Roman, and Enlightenment philosophy; painters like Rembrandt; statesmen like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln; and Zionist leaders like Herzl, Ben Gurion, and Menachem Begin.
  2. The Four Pillars – Online Electives
    Every student will choose four online elective courses—spread out throughout the academic year —in Tikvah’s four core pillars: (i) Jewish thought and philosophy, (ii) Zionism and Modern Israel, (iii) the spirit of Democracy, and (iv) the Great Books of Western Civilization. These courses allow students to explore topics of greatest interest to them and to meet Millstone Scholar peers from around the world.
  3. The Herzl Colloquia—A Leadership Forum
    Twice each trimester, Millstone Scholars will participate in conversations with renowned leaders from Jewish and public life—drawn from some of the most significant institutions in the worlds of scholarship and academia, law and public policy, business and entrepreneurship.

Students who complete the program are eligible for further Tikvah learning opportunities. There will also be optional parent learning through ongoing seminars for parents to engage with the material their children are learning and to explore together issues of deepest concern as Jewish parents today.

Through this intensive Millstone Scholars program, our mission is to train and network a group of learned and confident young Canadian Jewish leaders of tomorrow. Read more about the Millstone Scholars Program curriculum below, or contact Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger at to learn more.

The Millstone Core Seminar Curriculum

How Jewish Ideas Changed the World

The Millstone Scholars curriculum is rooted in the following beliefs: that Jewish ideas shaped Western civilization and the world; that young Canadian Jews have the right and responsibility to understand their own exceptional Hebraic heritage; and that young men and women in grades 7 and 8 are capable of college-style seminars and discussions. We are looking for intellectually curious students and families who believe in Jewish excellence.

Every Millstone Scholars student will participate in our core seminar—a weekly discussion class, in-person, in your local community. Together with a master teacher, students will read carefully chosen selections from the formative texts of the Jewish people—ranging from the Torah to the Talmud and medieval period to modern thinkers and leaders —in an intellectual adventure that explores how Jewish ideas changed the world. We will discuss the Biblical Creation story and the Apollo 8 astronauts; the story of Abraham and the ideas of Aristotle; the leadership of Rebekah and the longings of Homer’s Penelope; the Exodus from Egypt and democracy in North America; the teachings of the Ten Commandments and the paintings of Rembrandt; the foundational stories of the Jewish people and the writings of Edgar Allen Poe; the rise of the ancient Israelites and the heroic leaders who created modern Israel.

The Four Pillars

Jewish Philosophy | Zionism & Israel | Democracy in North America | Western Civilization

In addition to the core seminar, Millstone Scholars will complete four elective courses, allowing them to study specific topics of greatest interest to them, in conversation with students from around the world, in online seminars offered on weekday evenings and on Sundays. Millstone Scholars will have a vast catalogue of online seminars to choose from, and they will have to complete at least one course in each of our “four pillars”: (i) Jewish thought and history, (ii) Zionism and modern Israel, (iii) the spirit of Democracy, and (iv) the great ideas of Western Civilization.

Why are these four pillars so important? Because we believe that:

The CLASSIC TEXTS OF JEWISH CIVILIZATION—including the Hebrew Bible, rabbinic thought, and Jewish philosophy—offer enduring wisdom about the meaning of being human.

The ZIONIST PROJECT is one of the great moral, cultural, and political triumphs in human history, and every young Jew should understand the achievements and challenges of modern Israel.

DEMOCRACY IN NORTH AMERICA is influenced by Hebraic ideas from the colonial era onward and affording Jews unprecedented liberty and equality.

The FOUNDATIONAL IDEAS OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION—from Greek philosophy to Renaissance art to political economy—are essential ingredients in shaping modern Jewish citizens.

Windows into the Curriculum:

What is a Millstone Class Really Like?

Millstone Scholars courses focus on reading primary texts carefully as a way to explore the great ideas, leaders, and stories that help us understand who we are—as Jews, as Zionists, as citizens, and as part of Western civilization. Click the images below to view sample units.

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